4 days old/days in the NICU
Weight: 2 lbs 10 oz
Today was a really rough day for Ella and our family. It started out as our day of discharge, which of course was an incredibly rough day just because we were leaving the hospital without a baby in my belly or in our arms. When we went to the NICU to see Ella this morning, we could see immediately that she was struggling. Her poor little chest was sucking in so hard that you could see all her ribs and it seemed like her belly must be touching her back. We spoke to the nurse and she said that her blood gas had gone down and she was needing a lot more ventilation. They'd had to turn it up that morning, and they were pretty sure they were going to have to turn it up again. Ella had been such a busy girl and so distressed that they had to sedate her. If you look close at the picture from today, you can see that her ventilator is being held in differently. They had to secure it because she was trying to take it off. I was glad they did this because it doesn't cover as much of her face plus it's much more comfortable for her. You can see more of her face and actually today we could see her tongue darting out licking the ventilator. It was a sweet thing to see. Later in the day when we came to see Ella, she'd gotten a little worse and her blood gas was still bad. They actually turned the ventilator up right after I got there this evening and it's now at the same power that it had been when she was first in the NICU. I was SO distraught and of course sick with worry about this. I couldn't stop crying and was so stressed that I was only able to pump 1 ounce of breastmilk (my milk came in and I have been pumping 4-6 ounces).
The doctor and resident came and talked to me and explained that this is not unusual for preemies to experience this exact thing. They said that while some preemies do go right through the first stage and get of the ventilator with no problems, just as many do really, really well (like Ella did) but then they regress a little. They said the first 5 days can often be a honeymoon stage for preemies and that's exactly what happened with Ella. Yes, she was doing worse but we would just start from where we had been before, checking her blood gas and slowly wean her off the ventilator. So, it's not fatal what happened and it's pretty typical for her age, but it was still really rough for us emotionally. On the bright side, when we came back that evening, her chest wasn't sucking in with so much force and she was sleeping because they had needed to sedate her. She is just such an active baby that the overdoes it. I joked that she was too big for her britches.
We brought Olivia to Burlington Coat Factory today and let her pick some stuff out for Ella. She picked out some super cute receiving blankets and a little stuffed animal for Ella's room. I bought a thick fuzzy blanket that we'll put over the back of the pull out couch in her room and use for Kangaroo care with her. Tonight, we're going to sleep with the receiving blankets with us so that they smell like us and tomorrow we'll bring them to her and she can have them in her incubator. We're also going to make a cute little name tag for her door. It's silly and obviously just for us, but it made us feel better and closer to get some stuff for Ella and her room. We'll set it up tomorrow and take some pictures for everyone to see.